Tuesday, April 3, 2012
The thing I love most about the Indian cuisine is the sophisticated and endlessly varied ways of cooking vegetarian fare--grains, legumes, fruits, and vegetables with the help of complex blends of herbs and spices.
And I love the accompaniments to the meal, the delicious breads, sauces, raitas, chutneys, and pickles.
Over the weekend, I made this scrumptious Apricot Chutney, using a variety of dried fruits, along with generous amounts of both fresh garlic and ginger. If you enjoy the ubiquitous Major Grey's Mango Chutney, this rich sweet-sour blend will have even more appeal.
(recipe by Madhur Jaffrey)
1 pound dried apricots
10 large cloves garlic, peeled and coarsely chopped
A 1-inch-by-three-inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled and coarsely chopped
1 1/4 cups red wine vinegar
2 cups sugar
1/4 tsp. salt
1/8 to 3/4 tsp. cayenne pepper (I used 1/2 tsp.)
3/4 cup golden raisins
1/2 cup dried currants
Put the apricots in a bowl. Pour 4 cups of hot water over them and let them soak for an hour.
Put the garlic and ginger into the container of a blender or food processor (I used a mini-prep) along with 1/4 cup of the vinegar. Blend until smooth.
Empty the apricots and their soaking liquid into a heavy stainless steel or porcelain lined pot. Add the garlic-ginger mixture, the remaining vinegar, sugar, salt, and cayenne. Bring to a boil. Simmer on medium heat, stirring frequently, for about 45 minutes. Do not let the chutney stick to the pan; lower heat if necessary. Add the raisins and currants and cook, stirring, another half hour or until chutney takes on a thick, glazed look. It will thicken slightly as it cools.
Let the chutney cool and store, refrigerated, in lidded glass jars.
Don't limit yourself to using this as a condiment to Indian meals. I love a peanut butter and chutney sandwich. I've used it on a grilled cheese--delicious! cheese and chutney quesadillas, in chicken salad, spread cream cheese on crackers or toasted baguette slices and top with chutney.
What other ways to use chutney can you think of?